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New Home For Autistic Individuals

Older individuals who are struggling with autism now have a new home to go to. Last Wednesday the not-for-profit agency, P.L.U.S. Group, held a grand opening celebration in Levittown for a new home site at 72 Universe Drive. The home was officially open to residents at the beginning of May this year.


“P.L.U.S. provides residential programming for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities,” said P.L.U.S. Executive Director Terri Cancilla. “We offer them a permanent residence in a comfortable, normalized environment. Our homes are very warm and welcoming and are not at all institutional in setting.”


The new home which is located on the corner of North Wantagh Avenue and Universe Drive offers adults, who range in age from late 40s to early 60s, a place to stay. It has one floor and is capable of holding six individuals with six bedrooms in the home, an eat in kitchen and a small living room area. There is one handicap accessible bathroom and also a medication room for the residents.


“We moved all of our residents here from our other homes in Nassau County so we can provide opportunities for new autistic individuals who are in need of residential placement,” said Cancilla. 


There are a total of eight P.L.U.S. homes in Nassau County, Uniondale, Merrick, Seaford, East Meadow, Massapequa, and now two in Levittown, for the aging and medically frail.


Cancilla, who has been with the program since its inception in the early 1980s, said that the home has 24-hour staffing and supervision and that each individual is provided three meals a day. There is also an out of home activity and event schedule that runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m during the weekdays.


“The idea is to keep them active and for them to continually make progress each and every day. We have a treatment program which focuses on music and art therapy and an event schedule that lets them take daily trips to fun places in the area.”


Board of Directors President, Dr. Phillip Smith, who was at the grand opening said that he is thankful for Cancilla and her staff for all of the hard work they did in bringing the new home to the area.


“They are a dedicated and round the clock hard working group of individuals and I’m glad to have them on my team,” said Dr. Smith.


He added that his son, who suffers from autism, lives at one of the P.L.U.S. homes and that he has been well taken care of throughout the duration of his stay. 


“The idea behind our mission and one of the reasons these homes were first put into place was because as parents of autistic children we were worried about what was going to happen to our children when we were gone. I believe we’ve done an excellent job with the provision of superior care being provided on a daily basis by a dedicated and caring staff people.”